Who Says Yes When the Headhunter Calls? Understanding Executive Job Search Behavior

40 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2013

See all articles by Peter Cappelli

Peter Cappelli

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School - Center for Human Resources; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Monika Hamori

Instituto de Empresa

Date Written: August 2013

Abstract

We examine an aspect of job search in the important context of executive-level jobs using a unique data set from a prominent executive search firm. Specifically, we observe whether or not executives pursue offers to be considered for a position at other companies. The fact that the initial call from the search firm, which we observe, is an exogenous event for the executive makes the context particularly useful. We use insights from the Multi-Arm Bandit problem to analyze the individual's decision as it emphasizes assessments of future prospects in the decision process, which are particularly relevant for executive careers. More than half the executives we observe were willing to be a candidate for a job elsewhere. Executives are more likely to search where their current roles are less certain and where their career experience has been broader. Search is more likely even for broader experience within the same employer. In the latter case, the array of likely opportunities is also broader, making search more useful.

Suggested Citation

Cappelli, Peter and Hamori, Monika, Who Says Yes When the Headhunter Calls? Understanding Executive Job Search Behavior (August 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19295. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2308264

Peter Cappelli (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School - Center for Human Resources ( email )

3733 Spruce Street, Vance Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6358
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/faculty/cappelli.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Monika Hamori

Instituto de Empresa ( email )

Mª Molina, 12 - 5º
Madrid, 28006
Spain
915689619 (Phone)

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